Fishermen in Maharashtra protesting against a proposed Shivaji Maharaj memorial off Mumbai coast have decided to withdraw their agitation, a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi lays the foundation stone.
“Fishermen have agreed to withdraw their agitation against Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial Bhoomipujan,” a senior official said, after a meeting between Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and fishermen association leaders here last night. Fadnavis assured fishermen that the government will look into their concerns. “At the meeting, it was decided to constitute a joint committee to resolve their issues,” the official said.
The main feature of the memorial will be a 192-metre-tall statue of the Maratha king. The site is a rocky outcrop roughly 1.5 km from the Raj Bhavan shore of Mumbai.
Members of Akhil Maharashtra Machhimar Kriti Samiti (AMMKS), an association of fishermen from Cuffe Parade, Machhimar Nagar, Geeta Nagar (near Navy Nagar), near Raj Bhawan and Backbay Parade, had said they will fly black flags on their boats and homes as a sign of protest.
Fisherwomen were to form a human chain from Nariman Point to Girgaum Chowpatty, holding black flags, ahead of Modi’s arrival for the inauguration, said AMMKS leader Damodar Tandel. The livelihood of 1.5 lakh fishermen residing across five villages in south Mumbai, who have 1,500 large boats and 450 small boats, will be affected by the construction, he had claimed.
BJP, before it separated from Shiv Sena ahead of Assembly polls in 2014, had started a campaign with an appeal to voters to support Modi with blessings of Shivaji.